The GoGlobal Blog

The Smallest Big City

The Smallest Big City

Hei hei! (As one would say in Norway to greet someone)


I honestly have no idea what to write in a blog, so bear with me. In fact, I never really wanted to write one, especially one with the possibility of others reading it. What changed my mind, is perhaps a mixture of events… First, everyone raves about the importance of blogs during their time abroad, which seems to be an indicator that I should change my stance on creating one for myself. Second, my memory is horrid and this may help me to account for many of my experiences soon to be had. And lastly, writing a blog is outside of my comfort zone, just like my study abroad experience–so why not? Here I go!


 If you haven’t read my bio as of yet, I guess I should introduce myself! My name is Shayna Milstein, a junior math major at Loyola who is originally from Colorado. I always knew I wanted to study abroad but the location kept changing until, by chance, I settled on directly enrolling at the Universitetet i Oslo (University of Oslo) in Norway. I arrived on January 6th, and since then have barely begun to catch my breath–but in a good way!

First few weeks:

First things first, I am so glad I decided to choose a program where I directly enroll at a university! Last summer I did a program for two months in Iceland that was completely organized. We were with 22 other students, our days were primarily planned, and our classes fixed. While that was an incredible experience in and of itself, I am super independent and therefore get a certain thrill from just being a regular student who happens to be studying in Norway. I get to do all the usual student activities: travel, explore, join organizations and sports, especially choose what I want to study.

I don’t ever have class on Fridays, which is a first for me. In fact, I feel like I rarely have class. Norwegians structure their classes very differently than in the States, and most work is to be done outside the classroom. Something to get used to I guess! I also went super outside my comfort zone yet again by taking not only courses needed for my graduation, but a Norwegian Language class as well. It is something I didn’t need or ever thought I’d want to take, but immediately upon arrival I felt this strong desire to learn the language. Forgetting the fact that it is 3 hours long, twice a week, it is probably my favorite class. I am utterly happy I took advantage of that opportunity despite the fact that now my course load senior year will be inevitably be denser.

It’s freeing that I can travel every weekend if I choose (I won’t because, well, money). So what I have been spending much of my time doing is meeting with friends, going out, and hiking. Everyone is so fit, healthy, and into nature here. That was one of the main reasons I wanted to come, so I am glad my expectations in that aspect were met and even exceeded.

Buddy Groups:

The University is split up into faculty, and given that I am studying math, I registered under the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences. Here we are then split into “buddy groups”. These are groups of exchange students from around the world and about 3 Norwegians, all of which are studying the same subject as you. So in my case, most of us study math. The purpose is to create friendships between various exchange students. I truly lucked out with mine because while my friends’ groups no longer talk, most people in my group have become some of my good friends here. In future blogs I wouldn’t be surprised if I continue to mention my group so I wanted to explain who they are for ease of reading!

In Closing:

That’s all for now, I really don’t want to write too much at one time, even though there is so much more to say. I’ll try to check back in sometime next week because tomorrow (bright and early!) I am traveling to Krakow, Poland for 6 days with 4 guys I’ve met here and one of my flatmates! Still can’t get over that in less time than it takes me to travel between Colorado and Chicago, I can be in a different country here, with a completely different language, history, and culture! I just love it!!

See you next week! Takk for i dag! (“Thanks for today”)

P.s. sunsets here are among the best I’ve ever seen. Even though the sun sets super early (around 3:30pm when I first arrived, now more around 4:30pm) it lasts for like an hour or two. This photo was from my walk home from the gym recently…

The sunsets of Norway
The sunsets of Norway
Comments are closed.